Fully litterbox trained rabbit keeps turning over and dumping litterbox

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Augustus&HazelGrace

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My rabbits now live at my grandmother's house (I'm not going to get into why on here). Gus here in the past 2 weeks keeps turning over and dumping her litterbox, she still uses it but every afternoon when my grandmother checks on them she has it turned over and she has to keep refilling it. She has used this litterbox perfectly for about a year before that she didn't have a litterbox as the hutch has a drop pan but it's just easier for my grandmother to clean out the litterbox instead of the drop pan every week. I know it's not the best litterbox as its a corner one but if I were to put a bigger one in there she wouldn't have any room to hop around. Next fall they will both be coming with me to college and will have a much bigger area and litter box but for now I need to figure out why she is doing this. Nothing has changed in her environment, other than I recently sealed it off from the wind and a low wattage heat lamp is on it. I use wood pellets for litter and diet hasn't changed same bale of hay same bag of pellets. Why do you think she is doing this all of a sudden? When it was warmer my grandmother would put them in a playpen but now that it is colder they don't get out. Maybe she is mad cause she hasn't been out? But it has been at least a month since she has been out. I don't know guys, I'm really lost. Any ideas and advice would be appreciated.
 

JenGibs

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My rabbits now live at my grandmother's house (I'm not going to get into why on here). Gus here in the past 2 weeks keeps turning over and dumping her litterbox, she still uses it but every afternoon when my grandmother checks on them she has it turned over and she has to keep refilling it. She has used this litterbox perfectly for about a year before that she didn't have a litterbox as the hutch has a drop pan but it's just easier for my grandmother to clean out the litterbox instead of the drop pan every week. I know it's not the best litterbox as its a corner one but if I were to put a bigger one in there she wouldn't have any room to hop around. Next fall they will both be coming with me to college and will have a much bigger area and litter box but for now I need to figure out why she is doing this. Nothing has changed in her environment, other than I recently sealed it off from the wind and a low wattage heat lamp is on it. I use wood pellets for litter and diet hasn't changed same bale of hay same bag of pellets. Why do you think she is doing this all of a sudden? When it was warmer my grandmother would put them in a playpen but now that it is colder they don't get out. Maybe she is mad cause she hasn't been out? But it has been at least a month since she has been out. I don't know guys, I'm really lost. Any ideas and advice would be appreciated.
Awwwwwww....
She for sure needs to get out. Buns need that exercise time and running space. I would bet she is doing this out of boredom or because she is not releasing her energy daily. I know you said you don’t want to get into the reasons and that’s okay.. is there an option for more space and exercise time? Bunstruction will continue to happen under this scenario I’m sure. Even enrichment toys aren’t enough alone. They are great, but not enough on their own.
Oh, please watch that heat lamp until everyone knows it’s safe, working properly and not too much or too little. I’m not a fan of outside bunnies at all.
Orrrrrrrrrr, maybe they miss you and think that you will come get them if they make it hard on grandma! LOL
 

Hermelin

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Best would be changing litter box, my own bunny did this when he wanted to play and redecorate the cage. It happens when they are in a smaller space :3
 

Apollo’s Slave

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I think she wants to play. The litter box- although it’s troublesome for us- is giving her stimulation. It’s fun for her! She’s bored. Many rabbits go into their mischievous ways when they are bored. For your bunny it’s tipping the litter box over. For mine it’s chewing off my walls . Maybe you could ask your grandmother if she could let them run around in one of the rooms in her house for a few hours a day maybe? I don’t know if she works but if not maybe that is something you could try to do?
 

Augustus&HazelGrace

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They are on gravel and there is a trailer in front of their hutch so no way to expand. And trust me I don't want them outside but I have no other choice right now. And the bringing them in for a few hours is NEVER going to happen because my grandmother does NOT allow pets in the house. And its just too cold for my grandmother to be sitting outside with them for an hour or two. I could see her doing that because we had an amazing bond before she left but that has suffered now that I don't see her every day. She doesn't get played with as often and she was always demanding pets from me. And she used to come to me when I called now she just runs into her hole and hides from me.20180210_125929.jpg
This is not her and not currently how it is set up but she is on the other side and she has a ledge above the holes.
20180210_125849.jpg

This is the ledge that she has ( Still not her though lol) The space from the first picture and the ledge is all the space she has. I will post a picture later of her current set up.
IMG_1763.JPG
This is the hutch in the back, but not currently where it is at and finally that is her that you see in it lol.
 

JenGibs

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Oh wow. I’m sorry but that is awful. Does your grandmother breed bunnies? Why such a setup for so many?
Your buns are used to being indoor, family, pets. Not like they are now. She will display all sorts of mischievous behaviors. She is not happy out there. She will probably get sore hocks from that metal grate and no way to get away from it for a significant amount of time.
Personally, I would not keep my bun in that condition- no matter what. If I couldn’t care for her, I would release her to a rabbit rescue or foster her out or look for another home. That type of environmental and personal change could kill her or affect her for life as she learns her new normal.
I see this is very hard for you. I see you are not happy about the situation. I know you love her. It’s just not enough. Please try to find alternate arrangements.
Have you reached out to others in this forum that may be in your area? Where are you located?
 

Augustus&HazelGrace

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I don't have that many anymore They are in the hutch in the back of the picture and that is at my house not where they are now. They are used to being outside Gus was in my house for only a year and Tris has been outside all of her life and has been outside for 2 years. She stays on the ledge most of the time and the cubby holes are wood, not wire. I know it's not ideal but it's only temporary, I will be moving there in May and as soon as it warms up she will be getting them out again. Giving her up is NOT an option. They are my emotional support animals and they will be indoor as soon as July. When I am there and it's not extremely cold I do take them out for about 2 hours a day.
 

Alyssa and Bugs♡

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@Augustus&HazelGrace is well aware of the stuff you guys are pointing out. She asked for help with the litterbox issue, not for you to make her feel worse about her rabbits and their living situation. She knows wire flooring isn't ideal. She has wooden ledges in the hutches so her rabbits get a break from it. She knows they would be better off inside (and living with her) but that just isn't an option. Not everyone is able to have indoor bunnies with massive pens like some of us.

She shouldn't be told giving her bunnies away is best for them. They've adapted to their living situations and while it could be better, it works and is temporary. All of us have things we'd like to change about our enclosures.

Unpopular opinion on this forum but there are multiple ways to keep rabbits. Stop being rude.

OP, you can try filling paper bags full of hay and offering those when you're at your grandmother's house. I find that keeps my bunnies busy. You can also try moving the litterbox to a few different spots.
 

Hermelin

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Maybe you can put a small square litter box on top of the shelf. Harder to flip and won’t take up so much space.

Or maybe have the litter box in the hide house. Myself had my outdoor bunny litter box in the hide house. Didn’t take up that much space and the other space was stuffed with straw :)

Not sure about how the measurement are.
 

Marcella-Jaine

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I was NOT being rude. I was being honest in my dismay and absolute horror. That is approximately a 2’ x 2’ cage (maybe 3’ x 3’) that she says the rabbit has been in for an entire month without being let out. I am definitely not a fan of outdoor living for bunnies. But that wasn’t what I was commenting on. I was commenting on the abuse of having an animal locked up like that for a MONTH in such a small space with no chance for exercise. Even the people I met that raised them for food let them out of their hutches during the day for exercise.
 

Flakes

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Am I correct in assuming that they are on a wire grate? Have you ever considered just using some bungie cords to strap the litter box down? Use the grate to anchor the litter box?
 

Augustus&HazelGrace

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They have hooks on them so I may be able to hook them into the wall but I will have to cut the wire. The wall is wire too
 

JBun

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If you have a drill, drill a hole in the top corner of the litter box, close enough to the edge that you can clip one of those trigger snap clips through the hole, or zip tie a metal ring to the hole.

Then zip tie a ring to the wire wall in place to match up where the top litter box corner meets up with it, where the two metal rings meet up and touch. Then use a trigger snap clip to clip the two rings together to keep the litter box in place and from being moved.

Instead of attaching two metal rings, a loop made from a zip tie can be used, but you just have to make sure to keep the loop and not cinch it down, so that you can clip the two loops together. And best not to use the really small zip ties. They usually are too small and too short to make a loop with.

You should be able to buy the trigger clip, metal rings, and zip ties from somewhere like walmart or home depot.

Everyone else commenting on this thread, please stay on topic. The OP's question was about how to keep the litter box from being turned over.
 
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Marcella-Jaine

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Understood. I am apparently on the wrong forum. I thought this was a forum to help each other and EDUCATE each other regarding appropriate care of bunnies. Honestly, if someone can’t figure out how to secure a plastic litter box to a wire cage, then they most likely aren’t able to be educated in the humane care of animals. This forum is not what I thought it was.
 

Augustus&HazelGrace

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Thank you Jbun. Marcella_jane it's not that I didn't know how to hook it because I did. It's just that in the 3 almost 4 years that I have had her I have never had this problem with her and just wanted to know why. I love my buns more than anything and want what's best for them. But I'm not going to let them out when it has been 10 degrees outside. My grandmother does let them out for about 2 hours when it's above freezing and weather permits. When I am there I let them out for about 3 hours a day when weather permits. In May they will be let out for 3 hours or more everyday when I move out there. And then in July I will be moving to college and they will have free range of my room. And the hutches are bigger than they look but the width between the wood and the wall in the middle is just not big enough for a standard size litter box. When they are fully bonded I am knocking down the middle wall and will only have one litter box and they will have much more room. But the width of the ledge and the wire width if they were flat is the minimum required amount of them being able to hop 3 times, and they can stretch all the way out on the ledge or the wire, and they can stand up completely without their ears touching the ceiling except for on the ledge. And the insides of the holes are all wood and they have a blanket in one of there holes for extra warmth and a bed that we check daily for holes. So they do have a way to get off the wire. All of this is only temporary until I can move out. And because people think that I am apparently abusing them. If I didn't move them to my grandmother's so suddenly my father was going to snap their necks. So yeah I think I would rather them be alive and in a small hutch then have them taken away from me and killed in a way they would have suffered.
 

JenGibs

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Thank you Jbun. Marcella_jane it's not that I didn't know how to hook it because I did. It's just that in the 3 almost 4 years that I have had her I have never had this problem with her and just wanted to know why. I love my buns more than anything and want what's best for them. But I'm not going to let them out when it has been 10 degrees outside. My grandmother does let them out for about 2 hours when it's above freezing and weather permits. When I am there I let them out for about 3 hours a day when weather permits. In May they will be let out for 3 hours or more everyday when I move out there. And then in July I will be moving to college and they will have free range of my room. And the hutches are bigger than they look but the width between the wood and the wall in the middle is just not big enough for a standard size litter box. When they are fully bonded I am knocking down the middle wall and will only have one litter box and they will have much more room. But the width of the ledge and the wire width if they were flat is the minimum required amount of them being able to hop 3 times, and they can stretch all the way out on the ledge or the wire, and they can stand up completely without their ears touching the ceiling except for on the ledge. And the insides of the holes are all wood and they have a blanket in one of there holes for extra warmth and a bed that we check daily for holes. So they do have a way to get off the wire. All of this is only temporary until I can move out. And because people think that I am apparently abusing them. If I didn't move them to my grandmother's so suddenly my father was going to snap their necks. So yeah I think I would rather them be alive and in a small hutch then have them taken away from me and killed in a way they would have suffered.
So many thoughts here......
Stay on topic, yes. However, I also think it should be mentioned that while this is only temporary, there are a few issues here that go beyond the litter box.
- If your buns are used to being inside, don’t you think those freezing temperatures are a very....very...bad idea?
- I hope I am not the only one thinking that 8+ months is not temporary. That could, and probably will, change who they are. Temporary would have been getting them out of danger (which you awesomely did) but continued to find an alternate arrangement with a foster family or something.
- You mentioned that once they are bonded, you can make that space bigger. That’s great and all but who is going to supervise this bonding process? From what I read your grandmother takes care of them and their basic needs (which is awesome) but bonding can take an enormous amount of sessions and a close eye on them. One good fight and any hope of bonding them is gone. This is a very long process and can be dangerous.
- Yes, we all know she loves her buns- I completely get that. However, this is a help/discussion forum and it would be a slight to her if we did not mention the other things that could ruin their lives or worse. No one wants that to happen! No one wants her to lose her buns! But for indoor bunnies, this new arrangement is very dangerous, and I’m sure depressing, for them. The initial response to get them out of harms way was perfect but this temporary situation needs to change. 8+ months just is not temporary in that environment.
- My daughter has emotional support animals and the minute she leaves the house, her kitty looks for her constantly. Emotional support goes both ways and if you have a pet that is there for your emotional needs, they are usually not just an outdoor pet like this. I don’t want her bunnies to change who they are and no longer support her in that way.
- It’s just not a good situation. Temporary- fine. But the temporary time has expired. They need a better environment and that’s just being honest.
 

Augustus&HazelGrace

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I got Gus when she was at least 6 months old ( she has never grown since I got her). Prior to this, I don't know if she was inside or outside but she was abandoned at a small farm and after I took her in she had only been with me for about 2 months before we moved and I then put her in the basement for another month or so before my dad said they had to go outside, so I bought the hutch they are currently in (I also had Hazel at the time too) I know I messed up getting 2 at a time but the past is in the past. Then I bought my big set up and began breeding. (I no longer support breeding for pets just for breeding for show) I do not breed any longer. But my dad and I built a 4 area playpen so I could let them out, I had about 12 rabbits and they would all get out for about 1 hour a day. I do regret breeding more bunnies into the world and that they all didn't get the proper care other than basic needs but I can't go back and undo it. They were all rehomed to be indoor free roam speutered buns. But anyways out of this Tris was born from Gus. So Gus has been outside for about 2 and a half years and Tris has been outside all of her life and she is coming up on her 2nd birthday. So this is not new to them and they were outside for all of the winters but they all had heat lamps, blankets, and straw to keep them warm. I had the heat lamps in the empty cages so they were not directly on them and were not close to the blankets and straw. The blankets were checked every day for holes and holes were cut out and blankets were replaced as needed. They have a heat lamp on them now and they are protected from the wind and weather.

As for the bonding, I have 2 weeks off for Christmas break and will be working every day with them except for Christmas Eve and day to work on bonding, and then I go over every other weekend anyway and we have been doing short sessions that have been going well. Except when Gus wants to bite her butt which I don't get. But never any fights. I have also taught my grandmother how to do sessions but she hasn't done any. They don't do well in the playpen outside for bonding lots of circling so I have done the bathtub with a towel in the bottom, and 1 time a laundry basket with the washer on spin cycle this actually went really well, Tris who I see as the more dominant one was going to Gus for comfort. But I really don't want to to a whole lot of stress bonding sessions because I know that female/female bonds are very fragile. Would car rides be ok? The playpen I have now is basically an xpen I took apart of an old dog kennel that I found at my old house. Any tips on bonding would be great. If I can get tips on using the playpen instead of me bringing them in and out then I would do to extended sessions with me sitting in there with them all day until they are bonded. Or would this not be recommended with a female/female bond?

I am also going to try to convince my grandmother with everything that I have got to let me move them inside when I move in with them. So if I can convince her of that is the 8 ft by 4 ft xpen big enough for the both of them? I know that I could use the wall to make it bigger but I don't want to have to put any wood on the baseboards they just redid the room that I will be staying in and I don't want to mess anything up. They have a wood floor in that room so what flooring should I put underneath of it to keep them from ruining the floor by scratching it and to keep hay off of the floor? They will have a large litterbox to share (I hope Gus doesn't decide to tip this one over lol) but they will have lots of toys (they already do) and they will have lots of playtime with me when I am not working. They will also have some hidey holes and I may invest in some large bird wall bowls that blue eyes is always talking about. They don't tip their current bowls over but maybe for them to have more space to run around.

Also, you guys have seen the outside picture of the hutch if there is any way that you think I can expand it I'm all ears. But they are on gravel and there is a trailer in front of it. But there are about 2 feet of room on the right of it and several feet on the left of it. And we would rather not move it down any as it took 3 of us to get it off the trailer and in that place and my grandparents threw out their back helping.
 
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Augustus&HazelGrace

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So I let them out Saturday and Sunday for about three hours each day but 90% of this was them sitting in the corner doing nothing they first five minutes they would play and run around. Are they doing this because I'm getting them out too early? I got them out about 1 and put them up around 4. It gets dark here around 4:30 -5:00 so I don't want them being out when its dark and its harder for me to see predators if there are any. I'm mainly worried about owls as I know the coyotes and others won't come up if I'm out there. The only other predator that may come up there is the outside cat. He has a garage to go into at night and gets fed and watered every day but he likes to roam and he keeps the mice away. But he is easy to keep away and he doesn't even bother with them he could care less that they are even there. This is my grandparent's cat so please don't come at me that he should be inside my aunt found him as a stray as a kitten and neutered him and brought him in but he hated it and always wanted outside but they were on a main road so she gave him to them so he could be outside. I'm also allergic to cats so I don't even mess with him but my grandparents play with him when he lets them.
 
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